Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Medical Marijuana 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Medical Marijuana 

Medical marijuana has become an effective alternative in treating a myriad of medical symptoms and conditions, particularly due to medical marijuana’s ability to ease nausea and pain while simultaneously stimulating little to no side effects that other medicines are known to cause in patients. There has been an increased demand in the application of medical marijuana in the use of treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, particularly in the alleviation of the rather painful symptoms associated with IBS. The following article will dive into the implications of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the current research in the application of medical marijuana to treat many of its symptoms. If you suffer from IBS and are interested in the use of medical marijuana to address your current medical issues, you can learn more about Dr. Kramer’s medical marijuana licensing here.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a disorder of the gastrointestinal system that triggers a mix of GI complications that manifests in a number of symptoms, including but not exclusive to abdomen pain, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and cramping. IBS has been referred to as spastic colitis, irritable colon, spastic colon, nervous stomach, mucous colitis, and spastic bowel. IBS particularly affects the functionality of the colon and large intestine.

A quick snapshot of IBS and its prevalence in the adult population:

  • IBS is most common in people under 45 years of age.

  • IBS affects twice as many women as men.

  • One in five adults suffer from IBS and its symptoms.

Most people who have IBS experience mild to moderate symptoms with only a smaller fraction of people experiencing the more extreme spastic colon symptoms. A majority of IBS patients can manage their symptoms through small adjustments in their diet, stress levels, and overall lifestyle. Many other IBS patients find that medication or alternative therapies are more effective at treating their symptoms.

There is no cure to IBS in the sense that there is no therapy or medication that will prevent IBS patients from experiencing any symptoms in the future. There are methods of treatment, therapy, and lifestyle changes that help patients of IBS manage their symptoms and feel better over a longer period of time, which also includes identifying the triggers for their particular symptoms of IBS.

The Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The symptoms of IBS vary in great degrees from person to person, and often manifests itself in different ways. There are conditions that are more common than others, but the ones that most patients describe experiencing are:

  • Gas

  • Abdominal cramping

  • Abdominal pain

  • Constipation or diarrhea (often bouts of either for extended periods of time)

  • Mucus in stool


The unfortunate reality of IBS is that it’s a chronic condition, where symptoms can vary from degrees of better or worse pending on what has triggered the IBS in the first place. Symptoms can also go through periods of time where they can show massive improvement and even disappear altogether, to just come back later on.

It’s important to speak to a doctor or to a Gastrointestinal specialist if you have IBS or symptoms of the disease, particularly since it can lead to more serious underlying conditions. Some symptoms associated with IBS conditions that can indicate more severe health complications include:

  • Weight loss

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Abdominal pain that occurs or gets worse at night


The Short Term and Long Term Effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Dealing with IBS is very difficult for most patients,  and it can make you change the manner in which you carry on with your life. At the point when you're experiencing a session, you may pull back from your standard regular exercises because of enduring agony and inconvenience. You might not have any desire to travel excessively far from home in the event that you experience the effects of an IBS symptom, and have to be close to the comforts of your own home to deal with the symptom. These instances regularly happen for most IBS patients, and the resulting effects can be crippling to the way you live your life. 

The gas and discomfort you experience from IBS episodes prevents you from social events or social places because of the constant fear of one of your symptoms becoming a public display. Customary meds regularly don't give you the alleviation you need, and there are symptoms to consider. Many who use traditional IBS medication feel nervous, irate and touchy from specific drugs they are taking. You may start to abstain from eating or drinking to prevent your side effects from happening when you're out traveling or even when you’re in the comforts of your own home.. 

For certain individuals, IBS is an imperceptible condition. That is, the point at which you have it or when it may hit you, you can look fit as a fiddle to others. Many friends and family of IBS patients frequently have a hard time believing that they’re sick since they don't look wiped out. You may then feel additionally distant and withdrawn from people around you. Since loved ones can't completely comprehend what you're experiencing, they may get drained trying to invite you to social events or gatherings that you fear may trigger the IBS, especially in the event that you have something that irritates your IBS or a serious instance of the condition. 



What Triggers Irritable Bowel Syndrome

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a myriad of foods that often trigger IBS in patients, but the following is a list that includes most common triggers (not exclusive to the things on the list):

  • Alcohol

  • Chocolate

  • Sweet Foods

  • Dairy 

  • Produce

  • Caffeinated Drinks

  • Fatty Foods

  • Sorbitol Sweetener 

  • Fructose Syrup

The following are not food, but other things that can trigger IBS in patients:

  • Stress

  • Smoking

  • Emotional events

  • Certain medications

Common Treatments for IBS Prescribed by Doctors

There are a slew of treatments commonly used to address IBS symptoms in patients that doctors often recommend, which include:

  • Laxatives for constipation.

  • Fiber supplements for constipation relief.

  • Antibiotics for bloating.

  • Peppermint oil pills to alleviate symptoms.

  • Anti-diarrheal medication to ease stool movement in your intestines.

  • Antispasmodics to reduce muscle spasms. 

  • Antidepressants to address other symptoms associated with IBS.

Antidepressants are a difficult medicine for many IBS patients, particularly since antidepressants can have severe r4esults over a protracted period of time. These side affects can include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual problems

  • Vomiting

  • Nausea

  • Sleepiness

  • Weight Gain

  • Diarrhea

Outside of traditional medication to treat IBS, there are other methods of therapy or treatment such as:

  • Stress relief therapy

  • Gut-focused hypnotherapy 

  • Mindfulness and meditative training

  • Probiotics

Even with all of these things, IBS treatments can still fall short which is where medical marijuana has stepped in to fill these gaps.

The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms that Marijuana Can Treat

One of the most powerful attributes of medical marijuana is its ability to affect the body’s endocannabinoids, that is the compounds in the human body that resemble compounds found in marijuana, but have the ability to help limit the level of intestinal inflammation caused by IBS. A recent study from the National Institute of Health has shown the application of medical marijuana to IBS has yielded positive results with patients. People with IBS tend to have higher levels of cannabinoid receptors in their colon, and are able to be treated with marijuana since THC directly impacts these receptors.

The three major symptoms that medical marijuana has been best at treating in IBS patients is depression, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.


IBS tends to take a severe toll on the mental well-being of most patients,which often leads to depression. Medical marijuana has proven to be a powerful tool to alleviate symptoms of depression, particularly since cannabis is a known stimulant for lifting mood. A study in the Journal of Neuropharmacology has found that CBD (cannabidiol) which is a non-psychoactive substance in pot has been shown to ease anxiety and antisocial behavior in lab animals almost immediately.

The effects of medical cannabis or marijuana use over a long period of time helps stimulate the effect of CBD’s, and this is particularly interesting for IBS patients because conventional antidepressants can take up to weeks to work whereas the use of marijuana and CBD tend to trigger immediate effects. Depression as a result of IBS can be treated with the application of medical marijuana.

IBS-Related Diarrhea

A common symptom of IBS is diarrhea, a condition that is not only embarrassing but takes a hefty physical toll on a person’s body. Studies have shown that the application of medical marijuna has show the reduction of the rate in which food moves through the gastrointestinal tract, which would be a massive physical relief to most IBS sufferers. 

The application of medical marijuana would also help reduce or minimize the severe cramping associated with IBS.



Abdominal Pain and Bloating

A recent study in the British Journal of Pharmacology has found that the application of cannabinoid treatments can help manage diseases like IBS since cannabis contains anti-inflammatories that work well in alleviation of nerve pain. Another study has shown that cannabinoid treatments have helped calm intestinal lining inflammation and the sensitivity associated with GI problems that is commonly associated with IBS patients.

Best Foods to Eat if Experiencing IBS

You can lessen your symptoms of IBS by eating the right foods at the right time. It's not a bad idea to keep a food diary to assist you with pinpointing the foods that trigger an IBS attack. You ought to bring your diary along to regular checkups so you can talk about your discoveries with your physician. Your doctor may prescribe a visit to a dietician to assist you with making changes to your standard eating regimen.

The most ideal approach to support yourself on the off chance that you have IBS is to take a shot at changing your eating routine. Avoid foods that cause you to feel unwell. Fiber is useful as it improves your intestinal capacities. Remember that you have to keep up a decent eating routine that fuels you with enough calories and vitamins to remain well. You may need to take supplements in the event that you have to skip or avoid whole nutritional categories in light of your condition. 

Fiber is helpful for diminishing pain and swelling of the GI. It strengthens your stools to pass through your body with hardly lifting a finger. Foods like entire grain breads, whole grain oats, vegetables, and organic products are acceptable sources of fiber. Include the accompanying foods into your eating routine gradually and note how you respond to them: 

  • Dry natural products 

  • Grain 

  • Earthy colored rice 

  • New natural product 

  • New vegetables 

  • Kidney beans 

  • Nuts 

  • Lentils 

  • Raisins 

  • Oats 

  • Split peas 

To guarantee you get the fiber you need, you can also purchase supplements. As you increase your fiber consumption, make certain you drink more water and other decaffeinated refreshments. Somewhere in the range of six and eight glasses a day is ideal in terms of water consumption. Perform any necessary exercise as well. Moving can help ease your bowel movements and GI activity. You can likewise take a stab at including probiotic yogurts into your eating routine.


IBS is becoming an increasingly common issue in many adults, and is actually becoming an approved medical condition in most states that offer medical marijuana. If you know you suffer from IBS and its many conditions, or exhibit symptoms that indicate you may have IBS, we highly suggest you consult a doctor to see what treatments are readily available to address your condition. We also encourage you to look into the application of medical marijuana to treat IBS, and talk to your doctor to see if it’s a course of treatment that would work for you.

Dr. Kramer is of the strong opinion that further research into the medical applications of cannabis will yield new methods of treatment and support for common, chronic illnesses. Patients shouldn’t have to suffer from symptoms that can be ameliorated or solved with the use of medical marijuana. We’ve reached a new period in healthcare where medical cannabis and medical marijuana is continuously being used in new, innovative ways - the more studies that can effectively measure and gauge potential uses of medical marijuana, the more options we’ll have as a society for healing and finding filling in the many gaps in our healthcare. Thank you for reading our blog, and for more information regarding medical marijuana or medical cannabis you can access the resources in the links below.

If you are interested in obtaining a medical marijuana card with Dr. Kramer, you can use this link to begin the process of obtaining one.

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